Finding Hidden Income & Assets

Couples who file for divorce in Florida are required to disclose an accounting of their various finances and assets as part of the division process. Unfortunately, not everyone is as honest as we’d like them to be. Some people hide their income, assets, and even property sometimes to avoid giving up half of it. 

At Fournier Law, PLLC, we have the skills and knowledge needed to assist our clients in uncovering possible assets and finances that have been hidden. In addition to the divorce discovery process, we can investigate all financial accounts, personal and business transactions, and joint tax returns to help recover what rightfully belongs to you. With over 60 years of combined experience, our team proudly helps clients in and around Tallahassee, the Big Bend region, and Northern Florida navigate this difficult time and move forward with their lives.

Division of Assets in Florida

In terms of asset division in a Florida divorce, assets are divided under the “equitable distribution” model. A judge works to fairly divide the couple’s property between the two. Courts help with the distribution of assets as well. 

The term “equitable distribution” is a bit of a misnomer. Since the court has so much discretion in equitable distribution, that doesn’t mean it’s always perfectly equal. Courts try to make the division equal, but judges can split it differently due to needs and other possible reasons. This is typically the incentive for hiding assets.

Commonly Hidden Assets or Income

Obviously, there is a great temptation for one spouse to keep assets hidden from the other spouse during a divorce to prevent them from being shared with the other spouse, but that practice is both unfair and illegal.  

There are many different ways that assets and money can be hidden, or at the very least, moved around to the point that it is hard to determine just how much there is. When it comes to physical assets, some of the more common items that are usually hidden include:  

  • Cash
  • Jewelry and other small valuables
  • Business inventory and other holdings
  • Stocks, bonds, and other securities
  • Unpaid or undistributed income
  • Overpaying on taxes so they can get the money back in a refund the following year
  • Asking an employer to delay a promotion or raise until after the divorce

Uncovering the Truth

Florida divorce law requires both parties in a divorce to proactively disclose their financial position, listing things such as income, businesses and real estate, bank and investment accounts, other valuable collectibles, plus their debts including mortgages, business or personal loans, and credit cards.

Communicate with Honesty 

It’s essential that you’re honest with your attorney due to the harsh penalties that can accompany dishonesty in court. If you’re not forthright about your assets through a divorce hearing, you could be penalized. 

Legally Work with Your Attorney and Accountants 

Divorces where assets are hidden can include high-value financial assets. Typically,our attorneys work with a financial analyst or forensic accountant to comb through financial records and identify inconsistencies.

Documentation

Documentation of hidden assets is what you will need to prove their existence.  During the discovery period of divorce, look at the documents and financial records to understand all of your assets as well as your spouse’s: 

  • Tax returns
  • Bank account statements (including savings and checking accounts)
  • Loan documents
  • Title records/deeds
  • Stock certificates
  • Investment income documents
  • Retirement accounts
  • W-2 documents or documents that prove income from wages
  • Profit and loss reports from a business
  • Estate and trust documents

Working With An Experienced Tallahassee Family Law Attorney

Divorce is complicated and difficult enough. A dishonest spouse trying to hide assets can make it even worse. At Fournier Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to helping clients in Tallahassee, the Big Bend region, and throughout the state of Florida uncover any hidden assets in a divorce. Call us today for a consultation.

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